Local government and environment personnel rescued on Tuesday a juvenile Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), the country's national bird, after it strayed into an upland community in Maitum town in Sarangani Province.
Maitum Mayor Alexander Reganit said Wednesday the eagle was initially found on Monday by a local resident in a forested area at a portion of Barangay Batian, which is part of the Mt. Busa biodiversity complex.
He said the municipal government was immediately informed of the presence of the strayed eagle, prompting them to mount a rescue operation.
The mayor said local government staff and personnel from the Davao City-based Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) extracted the raptor and brought it to the center on Tuesday night.
"We are very happy that the eagle was successfully rescued," Reganit said in a statement.
Gibson Badal, 26, a resident of Barangay Batian, said he found the bird just standing at his area and it did not move away when he got near.
Badal said the bird, which is about a meter tall and has blue gray eyes, appeared weak.
Alver Caasi, who was visiting Batian on Monday was informed by residents that they were selling the bird but he advised them not to.
"I told them they will face the full force of the law if they do that," he said.
Caasi said he helped feed the eagle with live chicken, and it immediately consumed half of it and the other half on the next day.
Edgar Calderon, park maintenance foreman of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, said the eagle could be about a year old.
He said there's a possibility that it has a nest within the five-kilometer radius from where it was found.
Dennis Joseph Salvador, PEC executive director, confirmed that the strayed bird was a Philippine eagle when they were informed late Monday.
Photos and videos of the raptor from the local government were sent to the center through Davao City-based journalist Carolyn Arguillas.
Jayson Ibanez, PEC director for conservation, said they initially confirmed the presence of the Philippine eagle in Barangay Batian in a visit in 1996.
Batian is a key part of the Mt. Busa complex, a declared priority conservation and protection biodiversity study area.
The area hosts one the province's remaining forests.
Reganit said the presence of the Philippine eagle shows that Maitum still has thick forests "that we ought to preserve and protect."
"I will do my best to protect the endangered species of Maitum as our legacy to the future generations," he said.
Mt. Busa (Area: 114,144 hectares) was declared as a key biodiversity area (KBA 116) and an important bird area (IBA PH0105) in 2001.
It is the habitat of critically endangered, threatened, vulnerable and rare bird species and connects several conservation priorities.
Sarangani's Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC) had reported sightings of tarsier, wild deer, pigs, monkeys, bats, civets and endangered species of birds at the foot of Mt. Busa.
But Mt. Busa, which straddles the towns of Maitum, Kiamba and Maasim, is threatened by land conversion (to farmland), kaingin (slash-and-burn), wildlife hunting, illegal logging and mining, according to the ECPC.(
Source: Philippines News Agency